sam darnold jets
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

The Jets could still trade quarterback Sam Darnold prior to the 2021 season, but to where?

Ryan Honey

The current trade value for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is likely a second-round draft pick and maybe a third. It could, however, be a late first-rounder if the Jets decide to keep him until draft day and force a team with that type of selection to make a desperate last-minute move.

But regardless, at this moment in time, the number of possible suitors is decreasing. With the Colts trading for now-former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and the Steelers committing to Ben Roethlisberger after acquiring Dwayne Haskins, only a few potential landing spots remain.

Which team could the 2018 first-rounder play for in 2021?

Denver

Is Denver really going to roll the dice with Drew Lock again? After he didn’t efficiently develop this past season en route to throwing a league-high 15 interceptions with a 57.3% completion rate and 75.4 passer rating? The team needs to upgrade from him, especially in a division that includes Patrick Mahomes and now Justin Herbert.

The Broncos’ ninth overall pick is too valuable of a selection to give up for Darnold, so instead, Denver could provide the Jets with its No. 40 overall pick in the second round.

Washington

The Washington Football Team doesn’t possess a concrete plan at quarterback. They recently extended Taylor Heinicke, but it’s not confirmed he’s going to be the long-term answer (he underwent one good game, that doesn’t mean he’s an elite quarterback).

During the draft’s opening round, if Washington misses out on Trevor Lawrence (they will), Zach Wilson (they will), Trey Lance, and Justin Fields, and they’re not sold on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, the team could be forced to make a trade for Darnold.

The Jets, in that scenario, could then give up a third-round pick (No. 66 overall) and Darnold for Washington’s No. 19 overall pick in the first round.

San Francisco

The 49ers need a new quarterback to hopefully make it back to the postseason; Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, nor C.J. Beathard are the answer.

Darnold could thrive under Kyle Shanahan, who ran the 12th-best passing offense in the league last year with the aforementioned trio of inconsistent quarterbacks.

In a trade scenario, the Niners could send their No. 43 pick (second round) straight up for Darnold.

Chicago

Despite the fact the Bears made the playoffs last season, Mitch Trubisky is unlikely to be the long-term answer. Nick Foles might not be it either.

Given they’re on the board with the 20th overall draft selection, the Bears could find themselves in the same type of situation that Washington could, in a sense they may miss out on multiple quarterbacks in the draft and be forced to give up a late first-rounder for the current Jets gunslinger.

Houston

If a trade involving Deshaun Watson and the Jets does eventually occur, Darnold and a number of first-round selections could head over to Houston.

It’s unclear if a deal will actually happen — Watson will be absurdly expensive and the Texans don’t wish to part ways with their franchise quarterback anyway. But if Houston does somehow give the green light, Darnold may continue his NFL career in the AFC South.

Tampa Bay

This may be a longshot, and Tom Brady did just win his seventh title, but who knows how long the GOAT will still be playing? He’s entering his age-44 season and has one year remaining on his current contract.

If the Buccaneers are unsure of a succession plan, they could send their No. 32 overall pick to Florham Park for Darnold, who could initially sit behind Brady and learn from the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

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